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Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax

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2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

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News & Updates

Check out the the latest news and photos in the Summer, 2019 Sempervirens newsletter. new

Register now for the 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference in Front Royal on the weekend September 27-29.

Latest blog post: Chris Ludwig was driven by the "Spirit of Inquiry".

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec was named the Fairfax County 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Latest Facebook Posts

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you seen Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) in the forest? It is an invasive species that is spread by humans, birds and other animals, and water. Once established, this vine has the ability to choke out and overgrow vegetation much like kudzu. It also weakens trees by girdling them and increases the chance of broken limbs by weighting down the crown. As the vines clamber across the treetops, the dense shade they create weakens and kills the native vegetation on the forest floor and suppresses tree regeneration.

This invasive vine was the impetus for the creation of Virginia's first weed management area, the Blue Ridge Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), centered around Shenandoah National Park. For information on how to control Oriental Bittersweet, check out PRISM's excellent fact sheet on it. https://blueridgeprism.org/factsheets/

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Greetings, VNPS Members!
The latest Sempervirens is online at http://www.vnps.org! Read more about our upcoming Annual Meeting hosted by the Piedmont Chapter on September 27-29 in Front Royal. Learn about the Bayard's Adders-Mouth Orchid and nitrogen fixation in the roots of Ceanothus, our 2019 Wildflower of the Year. Travel to both Texas Hill Country and the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario as members recount two VNPS field trips. News about new VNPS leadership, native bumblebees slowing down the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a botanical art exhibit, and sumac galls round out other offerings. And my own president's message describes a visit to Capitol Hill on behalf of the "Botany Bill."

Nancy Vehrs, President

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Rose-pinks, Sabatia angularis, a member of the Gentian family, are found in nearly all counties of Virginia. According to the Digital Atlas of Virginia Flora, its habitat is "dry, open forests, woodlands, and barrens; more numerous in old fields, clearings, dry to wet meadows, and other disturbed habitats. Tolerates a wide range of soil chemistries but often most abundant in base-rich soils. Frequent throughout." This specimen was found blooming near the side of a road in Western Prince William County.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you been seeing this on your walks lately? Found In diverse wetland habitats, including floodplain forests, as well as low mesic forests and various disturbed sites, it is common throughout Virginia. It is a native plant; known as False Nettle, (Boehmeria cylindrica). It’s called False because it lacks the stinging hairs of most members of the Nettle (Urticaceae) family. Generally from 2-3 feet high, with some branching. Flowers are wind pollinated, but leaves are fed on by a variety of butterfly caterpillars, including the Comma,(Polygonia comma), Question Mark, (Polygonia interrogationis ), Red Admiral, (Vanessa atalanta). You may see spindle-shaped galls from the fly larvae on the stems.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

And just what kind of orchids may be blooming now, you ask? Well, Southern Slender Ladies'-tresses, (Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis), is a native orchid that has a wide distribution throughout Virginia. Commonly found in moist to dry fields, clearings, roadsides, and occasionally in mown lawns. It produces 2-4 basal leaves which usually wither before or at the time of flowering in summer or fall. It bears an inflorescence of up to 40 small white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. Distinguish it from other species of Spiranthes by the distinctive green spot on its labellum - the central petal at the base of an orchid flower.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you registered for our annual meeting yet? Some field trips are beginning to fill up. September 27-29 in Front Royal!

Our field trip to Jeremy's Run still has space and is described as follows: Enjoy the special beauty of Shenandoah National park with an active woodland hike. The trail starts at Skyline Drive and crisscrosses Jeremy’s Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River, multiple times. The trail provides a particularly lovely setting and a nice selection of forest flora. This is an easy hike with only moderate elevation change, but hiking poles are advised for fording the creek on stepping stones. (Photo by Karen Hendershot)

For more information, and to register, see https://vnps.org/annual-meeting-2019-welcome/ .

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

"What are those beautiful berries?" some people ask. It may exhibit some lovely colored berries, but this vine is evil in our environment! Porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an Asian species that was brought to North America in 1870 for use as an ornamental vine. It rapidly escaped cultivation into natural areas. According to the Blue Ridge Partnership for Invasive Species Management (PRISM), "[T]his escape artist operates by growing faster than almost anything else around it, except for kudzu, and perhaps Japanese honeysuckle, with which it likes to pal around. Porcelain-berry may grow 15 to 20 feet in a single growing season. It runs right over and shades out most desirable plants while competing with them for moisture and nutrients. It has a deep taproot and also sends out shallow roots far and wide. These spreading roots sprout suckers that then create a massive thicket."

Porcelain-berry prefers full to part sun in moist soil and can be found primarily in edge habitats and disturbed areas. For more information about this invasive vine and ways to combat it, check out this fact sheet from the Blue Ridge PRISM: http://blueridgeprism.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/06/Porcelain-berry-Factsheet-5-27-17-VDOF-w-Box-FINAL.pdf.

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Native Plant Conservation Campaign Logo 131x400

Save Plants, Save The Planet, Save Ourselves — Native Plants and Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change And Other Threats to Humanity

By VNPS Communications | July 25, 2019

By Emily B. Roberson and Doug Tallamy for the Native Plant Conservation Campaign Sea level rise, record breaking heat waves, floods, pollution, mass extinction — 2019 is frightening! What if there were one simple thing individuals, businesses and communities could do to address these problems? There is! Plant native plants! Native wildflowers and trees are… [Read More]

Chris Ludwig Retirement 20190304 Photo by Jason Bulluck

‘Spirit of Inquiry’ drove Chris Ludwig

By VNPS Communications | June 20, 2019

Chris Ludwig, botanist, zoologist, and general all-arounder with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is off to greener pastures after 30 very busy years in the conservation community. And I do mean actual pastures right now since, as I write, Chris and his wife, Jolie, are staring out across the Serengeti as wildebeest swarm and flocks… [Read More]

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit Preaches Preservation

By VNPS Communications | May 17, 2019

Unlike many wildflowers that make a beautiful but brief spring appearance, the perennial Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) appears later in April and continues to add interest to moist woodlands until late fall. The hooded inflorescence which resembles a pulpit (a spathe) has a “Jack” (a spadix) standing in the center as if delivering a sermon. Perhaps… [Read More]

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec Named Fairfax County Citizen of the Year

By VNPS Communications | April 19, 2019

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a banquet where VNPS member Cathy Ledec was honored as Fairfax County’s 2018 Citizen of the Year. How gratifying it is to see someone recognized for efforts in preserving our natural environment! This prestigious award has been presented for the past 69 years by the Fairfax County Federation… [Read More]

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Illustration by Betty Gatewood

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

By VNPS Communications | February 6, 2019

New Jersey Tea is a low shrub, generally less than 1 m tall and often profusely branched. Stems are finely hairy, but may become smooth with age. Vegetative stems are perennial, but flowering stems persist for just a single year. Leaves are mostly 5 to 10 cm long; leaf shape varies from narrowly to widely… [Read More]

New and “Resurrected” Endemic Plants of Virginia’s Shale Region

By VNPS Communications | January 2, 2019

Back in 2014, John Townsend, VNPS Director at Large and Staff Botanist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, wrote about A Tale of Shale: Virginia’s New Violet describing unique plant populations in north central Virginia. In this new report, John provides an update on the Viola and the discovery of two new potential taxa… [Read More]

Virginia Sneezeweed (Helenicum virginicum) by Sally Anderson

VNPS Grows Two Virginia Natural Area Preserves

By VNPS Communications | October 30, 2018

Mount Joy Pond Natural Area Preserve Update: January 24, 2019. Several VNPS members visited our newly-acquired site and the adjacent DCR property. Check out the photo album on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to see what it looks like in the spring. The Virginia Native Plant Society has become a landowner! On October 23, 2018… [Read More]

Nancy Vehrs and Jim Waggener

VNPS Members Honored by Prince William Conservation Alliance

By VNPS Communications | September 30, 2018

The Prince William Conservation Alliance recently honored two long-time members of the Virginia Native Plant Society, Nancy Vehrs and Jim Waggener, for their service, contributions, and advocacy for conservation. The Alliance works to explore, enjoy and protect our natural areas, and increase community involvement in stewardship opportunities. Nancy Vehrs received the 2018 Heart of Gold Award…. [Read More]

If You Plant It, They Will Come

By VNPS Communications | September 18, 2018

“If you plant it they will come,” to paraphrase a line from the iconic Kevin Costner film, “Field of Dreams.” That was the hope of John Magee,  former Horticulture Chair of the Virginia Native Plant Society. John’s firm, Magee Design, partnered with Ashburn Village in Loudoun County in an effort to revitalize Tippecanoe Lake, one of 8… [Read More]

A Visit to The Cedars Natural Area Preserve Appreciation Days

By VNPS Communications | May 20, 2018

I’m back from far southwest Virginia, and I have to share.  The Virginia Native Plant Society contributed to purchasing land to join together some of the disparate tracts of The Cedars Natural Area. In appreciation, Rob Evans, Natural Areas Protection Manager, Virginia Natural Heritage Program in the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), organized a… [Read More]